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Augusta, Maine: Maine Securities Administrator Michael J. Colleran today issued a warning to citizens to beware of investment scams in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“Unfortunately, we already have seen evidence that con artists are attempting to exploit this tragedy by tricking people into fraudulent or unwise investments,” Colleran said.
Colleran stated that solicitations for investments to help hurricane victims or investments in hurricane-related technologies, such as water purification or electricity generation, should be red flags for investors.
He also urged Maine citizens to watch out for oil and gas scams related to high fuel prices and oil industry damage in the Gulf states.
The State of Maine Office of Securities, which Colleran heads, already has come across a fax sent to a Maine number soliciting individuals to invest in a highly dubious business that allegedly makes “aerial drones” for use in search and rescue operations.
Noting that scammers similarly used the public concern surrounding the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Y2K computer scare to promote a variety of fraudulent investment schemes, Colleran advised Maine citizens to:
* Hang up on cold-callers and ignore unsolicited e-mail messages and faxes promoting any kind of investment.
* Don’t let crooked salesmen prey on your good intentions and sympathy for hurricane victims.
* Use common sense. Anything that sounds too good to be true, or too strange to be real, probably is false.
* Never provide money or financial information to strangers or in response to unwanted solicitations.
* Make sure to fully check out an investment before you invest. Maine consumers can call the Office of Securities toll-free at 1-877-624-8551 to get information about an investment, including whether the seller and the investment are properly licensed and registered in Maine.
Colleran also urged Maine investors to call 1-877-624-8551 if they have been the target of any solicitation for an investment involving Hurricane Katrina.
The Maine Office of Securities is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumer can reach the Office through its Web site at www.MaineSecuritiesReg.org, by calling 1-877-624-8551, or by writing the Maine Office of Securities, 121 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0121.
Last Updated: May 24, 2011
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